This past weekend San Francisco hosted WonderCon, a comic/movie convention that is the sister-con to the San Diego Comic Con. While I am writing number of future posts regarding the many cool events seen at WonderCon this post is focused on one unexpected event which made my day.
The convention program listed a Disney "Meet the artists" event for attendees to bring their portfolios and receive feedback from professionals at Disney. In my planning for the day I did not include this event for a number of reasons: the description mostly talked about "portfolios" and "artist" so I assumed the event tailored to 2d production artists instead of animators (and this was correct); the program didn't mention the attending artists which meant either Disney did not tell the organizers or did not know who would be available (usually not good signs); and finally, my position already allows me to meet many awesome, talented people at Disney and since these events tend to fill up I didn't want my attendance to prevent someone who doesn't have the chance to meet Disney employees from meeting them here. On the day of the event my curiosity got the better of me and a decided to poke my head into the door just to see which artists were giving feedback:
The man on the left is Eric Goldberg, one of the most-talented animators alive and instrumental to the golden age of Disney during the 90's! Beyond creating and animating one of the most memorable characters in Aladdin (the Genie), he also co-directed Pocahontas, directed the fabulous "Rhapsody in Blue" portion of Fantasia, and solo animated the entire "Carnival of the Animals" segment in watercolors, among many, many other accolades.
(above, he's shown drawing the beginning of his short)
Suddenly, this event which I had no plans to attend became a must-see (sorry non-Disney opportunity people). As it turns out, the event did cater towards production artists which meant many people who spoke with Eric did not even know who he was. I waited for almost an hour to speak with him and, as always, I had my trusty reel in my pocket (thank goodness of video phones). We talked for about 10 minutes (which flew by fast) and he gave amazing advice and suggestions for my reel. He was down-to-earth and seemed surprised that I knew who he was and a little embarrassed when I thanked him for his amazing work on Fantasia and his fabulous animation book. Overall, I am amazed at how wonderful he was and will take his advice to heart. It's not everyday you meet an amazing artist's artist such as he (although I do know a lot of talented artists) and I will remember this unplanned meeting for a long time.
Below you will find his superb Rhapsody in Blue short which includes a character partially based on him. Enjoy!